There is something that really stood out to me while working on Character Builder Days alongside young people and children; rarely do we hear many good things spoken about the youth of today. Having spent a fair bit of time with them lately, I am wondering why this is? Sure, teens and children differ from adults, but I believe this is a great thing!
At first, I was a little nervous about what to expect entering a “workplace” that worked so often with young people. And what a workplace! I have the opportunity to visit with them at their schools, go along on excursions with them and even attend their camps. I wondered: would I do well? Would I offer what they needed? Would I effectively embody the Character Builder values?
I need not have worried, honestly! Young people really are so great. Having surrounded myself with adults for so long, I had forgotten just how
different (in a good way!) “adults” and “youths” are from one another.
The first thing I noticed about the young people I worked with, and the first thing I fell in love with, was their inquisitiveness and their willingness to just jump right in and ask questions: “who are you?”, “what is your name?”, “what are we doing today?”. It’s very refreshing! Connection is easy when they’re doing a lot of the work for you; seeking the answers to their own questions. Adults just don’t do this enough. We kind of tip toe around one another in new settings, they’ve taught me to become comfortable again with just jumping right on in!
I adore their energy, their enthusiasm and eagerness to get right in and begin everything. It’s not hard to get excited about an activity when you have a bunch of kids thoroughly enthused about what is ahead.
I was humbled a few times, and so grateful for the way they would unconsciously and effortlessly include me. From making sure I had enough lunch to eat, or somewhere to sit to eat that lunch, to ensuring I had taken my turn at being carried upon the stretcher for the Kokoda Challenge at Mt. Cootha. I never felt left out, awkward, or “outdated”.
I was honoured to hear their stories of personal resilience and listen to their insight on many different topics, including their perspectives on personal growth. Their many and varying viewpoints have broadened my own, and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to continually be exposed to this beautiful and wise side of our youths.
So, if you’re feeling a little disenfranchised with the youth of today, I encourage you to spend some time with them. You might just be surprised by what they have to offer and teach you!